Sunday, August 12, 2007

Noises Off!

The Firehouse 5 in Livingston is performing Noises Off!, by Michael Frayne, and I had heard it was funny, so we went last night. It is a play within a play, or more accurately, a farce within a farce (you can tell it is a farce because there are seven doors leading off the stage), and it was funny, but not very satisfying. The first act does a nice job of setting up the entertainingly eccentric characters and the potential conflicts; the second act develops the conflicts and hints at a few more; but the third act leaves it all lying in pieces. The director is wooing the nubile starlet and has apparently slept with the stage director (since she tells him she is having a baby), but who gets whom is left unresolved. The female lead appears to be successfully making one male lead jealous with the other; by convention, she should end up back with the first, but instead she appears to lose her sanity. It's hard to tell who is pursuing whom, and several innuendos are left hanging. All the conventions of theater that require some kind of resolution, and the specific conventions of farce that require that all the romantic or lustful confusion be sorted out by the end, were ignored, with nothing solid to replace them. It feels like the playwrite got bored halfway through and just wrote up something quick to get rid of the characters. It wasn't worth the over-three-hours running time.

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